Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How Lack of Same Day Delivery Saved Me

This is a logistics story in reverse.  Rather than discuss the benefits of same day delivery I am going to review with you how lack of same day helped this hapless consumer.

I was out wandering as I tend to do on Saturdays.  Usually I shop with my wife and while she looks for things I look at things and wonder how they got there and why someone would buy this stuff.  My eyes wandered to a "Big Green Egg" in Ace Hardware.  Ok, this may need some explaining.

A "Green Egg" is a ceramic outdoor cooker / smoker / grill.  A fascinating device which looks cool, people swear by the food it produces and costs a ton of money (Do I really need a $1000 grill)?  Of course, like all good products, once you buy the base produce there is a wall of "accessories" which can bring the full cost to $1300+.  They have learned well from the Iphone!

Ok, back to logistics.  I spent a lot of time looking at this device and two questions came to mind:  1) How would I get this home (I have cars not trucks) and 2) How would I get it to the back yard (it is very heavy)?  Those were the final two questions the sales person had to "sell" me on and I probably would have made this impulse buy.  Unfortunately, there were two answers he gave:

1) Earliest they could get it to me was next Wednesday (I live 5 miles from the store, he could have brought it in a pick up truck during his break).

2) They only do "curbside" delivery - I had to get it to my back yard and he agreed that was not easy.

I looked at him and said "let me think about that and I will get back to you".  Suffice to say, I never got back to him.   What happened?

Whatever the chemical is that causes a person to impulse buy started to go away and the "rational" chemical took over.  As my wife and I drove home we asked ourselves:  1) Do we really need a $1300 grill?  2) Who would move it if I had to move it again from the original location?  3) Wouldn't a $60 weber grill do a good enough job?

The answers came back:  1) NO,  2) Who knows and 3) Probably yes.  Therefore, no purchase and I went on my way (For the record, I did not even buy the Weber grill).  So, what are the lessons here:

1) If he had same day delivery I most likely would have bought it.
2) If he was willing to bring it around to my backyard (or even just help me) I definitely would have bought it.

The key lesson here is same day delivery makes a difference!  It is a differentiator and it drives sales.  Not only did I not buy this on this day, I most likely will never buy it.  Too hard.  Make it easy for the consumer and make it fast and you have a sale. Allow the consumer to think about it, and you could easily lose the sale.

This lesson is learned in reverse by the people who hawk timeshares in Vegas.  I once went to their pitch to get free show tickets (I had no intention of buying one of these).  I asked the sales person, trying to be polite, to let me look at the information over a few days and I would get back to him.  He said to me, "No one will buy these if we let them look at the information...".  Wildly honest but what he realized is the ability to deliver same day (in this case, same hour) took advantage of the adrenaline rush going on during the sale process - it assures a sale.  They delivered it same hour by having all the paper work ready, the financing there on site, the keys etc. etc.

You may ask, well does same day delivery really help since the person can just return the product once the urge is lost?  This question ignores both the normal inertia that exists in a consumer and the high desire to tell their friends, spouses, and themselves that they did not make a mistake and it was actually a brilliant purchase.

Ever hear someone defend buying a timeshare?  It is almost laughable listening to them try to explain it but, alas, they do.

Speed and ease of delivery drives sales - it is plain and simple.

As a consumer though, I was rescued by ACE not having same day delivery!